I’ve just returned to New York after attending The Original Miami Beach Antique Show, and apart from the dramatic difference in the weather, I came away thinking that there are more similarities than differences between the antiques community, and my beloved COUTURE community. The contrasts between these two worlds are apparent—COUTURE showcases the most stunning, contemporary fine jewelry in the world, and the designers in the salons and ballrooms are most often the very same people who produce the incredible product. At the The Original Miami Beach Antique Show on the other hand, the jewelry in the cases and the antiques on the show floor can often be hundreds of years old! And yet, the level of passion among the antiques dealers is on par with that of COUTURE designers and brands.
An equally pronounced similarity between these two worlds is a generosity of spirit in sharing information, and the desire and acumen in telling the story of the pieces showcased. One of the most poignant things I’ve come to appreciate about the antiques dealers is their ability to admit that they’re still learning about their trade. Even those who were literally been born into the industry explain that it’s only through experience that they gain their profound level of knowledge, and someone more experienced can always come along and teach them something new. This level of humility, even in the context of their clear position as authorities of their specific area of expertise, resonated with many of the designers in the COUTURE community. In both of these unique communities, the openness to continually learn and grow is refreshing!
Separate and apart from recognizing the differences and similarities between these two groups, it was exciting to spot, from time to time, select pieces from COUTURE designers in the cases of treasures! Of course, we expected to see pieces by David Webb, but it’s super exciting to come across a “vintage” piece from Stephen Webster (wait, does that make ME vintage?!), or pieces from Lalaounis, David Yurman and Temple St. Clair. Every stand is truly a treasure hunt, and it’s so fun to come across old friends (in the form of jewelry) when searching through all of that beauty.
My biggest take-away from the week, beyond realizing that the more I learn about antiques, the more I realize I don’t know, was that the aforementioned “passion” sometimes comes across in the form of impassioned speaking. After realizing quickly that everyone was not, in fact, yelling at me but they were just passionately invested in making the show better and creating a fabulous shopping experience for their clients, I realized that a simple act of kindness goes a long way with this group. Whether it was bringing a warm beverage to someone who was on the verge of getting a cold, offering to carry a cup of coffee to someone who was delivering multiple drinks to their stand, or simply circling back to make sure an issue was resolved, everyone was gracious, kind and appreciative. I can hardly wait to go back next year, when the show return’s to its home at the Miami Beach Convention Center….and not just because of the weather!